Faithlife Sermons

The sufficiency of scripture

Transcript Search
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

Sufficiency and distortion

Certain evangelical rightly claim that Scripture is sufficient to reveal all that Christian needs need to know about God, a point that Scripture supports everywhere (e.g. ; ; and so on). But in doing so they distort what Scripture teaches about the work of Christ and the Holy Scripture in conjunction with Scripture (more on this later). For example:
Deuteronomy 30:12–14 ESV
It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
“Moses’ point was that Isreal had the Word of God, the law, and that the law was all they needed. They were not to seek an additional revelation but were to busy themselves with obeying what they had.” So, what to do with Jesus? And later scripture? This view of the text misses the point of the text which was that the Law was near and accessible. Contrast this with
Deuteronomy 18:15 LEB
“Yahweh your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your countrymen, and to him you shall listen.
Deuteronomy 18:20–22 LEB
However, the prophet that behaves presumptuously by speaking a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, and who speaks in the name of other gods, then that prophet shall die.’ And if you say to yourself, ‘How can we know the word that Yahweh has not spoken to him?’ Whenever what the prophet spoke in the name of Yahweh, the thing does not take place and does not come about, that is the thing that Yahweh has not spoken to him. Presumptuously the prophet spoke it; you shall not fear that prophet.”
This assumes that true prophets with additional revelation from God would arise in Israel, requiring standards by which to distinguish true prophets from false prophets.
But there is another issue — and we will not go to all the references from here, but in the OT after this declaration we have revelation from the angel of the Lord, Deborah the prophetess, an unnamed prophet, Samuel the prophet, Nathan, Saul, Gad, Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah, Isaiah, the company of prophets, etc etc
However this claim is not alien to the NT as some would say .. Horton who is a major writer in the EPC writes

As far as Christians are concerned, the same meaning holds. For neither do Christians need an additional word from God. They have what they need already, and it is the gospel message being proclaimed by the apostles.

But God has determined that we derive all of our knowledge of Him, not through direct encounters, but through the written Word, the Bible and in the Person and work of His incarnate Son.

Lot’s of issues with the language here, but even more confusing coming from a person who is adamant on election — it is a revelation of the Holy Spirit outside of the text that draws one to Christ according to that doctrine. The claims listed there do not hold up logically or theologically or scripturally since is the Bible that says more will happen. for example
John 10:27 LEB
My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
John 14:26 LEB
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name—that one will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything that I said to you.
John 16:13 LEB
But when he—the Spirit of truth—comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak from himself, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will proclaim to you the things to come.
John 16:14 LEB
He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and will proclaim it to you.
: 14
Romans 8:16 LEB
The Spirit himself confirms to our spirit that we are children of God,
1 Corinthians 14:29–30 LEB
Let two or three prophets speak, and the others evaluate. And if something is revealed to another who is seated, the first must be silent.
1st Corinthians 14
Ephesians 1:17 LEB
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him
1 John 2:27 LEB
And as for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you do not have need that anyone teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you reside in him.
How do claims of no continuing revelation in the church explain the ongoing work of God through prophetic revelation? Did Steven, a layman, not need an additional revelatory vision of Jesus in heaven in ?
Did Ananias not receive one an go to Paul?
Peter received one for food.
Acts 13:1–3 LEB
Now there were prophets and teachers in Antioch in the church that was there: Barnabas, and Simeon (who was called Niger), and Lucius the Cyrenian, and Manaen (a close friend of Herod the tetrarch), and Saul. And while they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart now for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, after they had fasted and prayed and placed their hands on them, they sent them away.
Acts 13
And on and on… The early church expected to hear God speak in a variety of ways alongside, and not contradicting, the scripture. Scripture is primary, but it is also clear that scripture is not the only means of God’s revelation or communication.
John 5:39–40 LEB
You search the scriptures because you think that you have eternal life in them, and it is these that testify about me. And you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.
John 5:
James 1:5–6 LEB
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask for it from God, who gives to all without reservation and not reproaching, and it will be given to him. But let him ask for it in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed about.
1 Thessalonians 5:19–22 LEB
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but examine all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
: 19-22
If we are to hold to sola scriptura we should expect God to communicate with us - if we do not, why do we pray? If we expect God to communicate, we should expect God to be active, and involved in this world. We dismiss the power of God so that we might dismiss our error .... received Spirit since believed, shall be my witnesses… uhmmm
Related Media
Related Sermons